NASA launches workstation bonanza

SEWP III Web page

NASA has selected eight companies for its $4 billion follow-on Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement contract.

Like its predecessors, SEWP III is a fixed price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity purchasing vehicle for high-end workstations and peripherals. The SEWP contracts have been some of the most successful governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) vehicles.

The contracts were popular among federal users of high-end Unix- and Microsoft Corp. Windows NT-based workstations. SEWP II, which expired July 15, collected about 1,000 task orders each month, adding up to about $1.5 billion in sales over four years, NASA officials said.

The SEWP contract seeks to provide state-of-the-art commercial hardware and software.

The original SEWP contract helped establish Unix for NASA's scientific and engineering workstations. The contract has increasingly included other operating systems such as Windows NT and Linux. The SEWP III contract also includes provisions for networking and security. This year, SEWP III officials required all workstations to support accessibility features as mandated by Section 508, the law that requires federal agencies to buy technology that is accessible to people with disabilities.

The eight SEWP III vendors are: Hewlett-Packard Co.; GTSI Corp.; IBM Global Services Inc.; Silicon Graphics Inc.; Government Micro Resources Inc.; Compaq Computer Corp.; Unisys Corp.; and Logicon FDC.

The categories for SEWP III include electrical computer-aided design, mechanical CAD, database servers, visualization, high-performance computer servers, earth science computers, networking devices and mass storage devices.

Joel Lipkin, senior vice president of the customer division at GTSI, said SEWP has been a key contract within government. "We have multiple GWACs and each of them works in different ways," he said. SEWP, however, has been integrated into the purchasing side of a number of government agencies beyond NASA, he said. "It's a favored contract for many agencies."

It was one of the first to focus on electronic procurement, he said.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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